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Partner promotions: Herbert Smith Freehills makes up 21 to partner in 43% female round

For the second time since its UK-Australia merger in 2012, the bulk of partner promotions at Herbert Smith Freehills have come from Asia Pacific, while a record 43% of those being made up are women.

Just over half of the 21 lawyers promoted to the partnership came in Asia Pacific, with the firm investing heavily in Tokyo, where three associates join the partnership in the disputes and corporate groups. Six of the 11 new partners in the Asia Pacific came in Australia, the home of legacy Freehills, as Melbourne trio Joanne Draper (projects), Stefanie Wilkinson (corporate) and Jacqueline Wootton (disputes) all made the grade.

Nine lawyers were made up in the City, two down on last year, and the firm again swerved continental Europe as it made up just one new partner in the form of Madrid-based private equity M&A specialist Pablo Garcia-Nieto. Seeking to establish a stronger footing in continental Europe, the firm has instead turned to the lateral market over the past 12 months, hiring the likes of Dirk Hamann from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with Europe making up half of the firm’s 12 lateral hires in that period.

However, building on last year’s 35% female round, this year’s round will boost gender diversity after the firm publically committed to a 25% female partnership by May 2017 and 30% by May 2019. Having introduced targeted career development, mentoring and coaching, unconscious bias training for partners and inclusive leadership development, nine of the 21 new partners are women, representing 43% of the 2015 promotions round.

Mark Rigotti, joint chief executive, said: ‘I’m delighted that nearly half of our new partners are women. This is a clear demonstration of the firm’s commitment to gender diversity within the legal profession and a further step towards our stated target of a 30% female partnership by 2019.’

Herbert Smith Freehills’ 2015 partner promotions in full:


Dinesh Banani – Corporate (US Securities), London

Neil Blake – Disputes, London

Heather Culshaw – Finance, London

Harry Edwards – Disputes, London

Pablo Garcia-Nieto – Corporate (M&A/Private Equity), Madrid

Tim Healey – Real Estate (Construction), London

Catherine Howard – Real Estate (Planning), London

Sarah McNally – Disputes, London

Alice Rogers – Real Estate, London

Aurell Taussig – Corporate (Tax), London


Bryony Adams – Disputes, Sydney

Paul Apathy – Finance, Sydney

Joanne Draper – Projects, Melbourne

Christopher Hunt – Disputes, Tokyo

Andrew McLean – Finance, Perth

Richard Norridge – Disputes, Hong Kong

Alexis Papasolomontos – Corporate (M&A), Tokyo

Mark Robinson – Corporate (TMT), Singapore

Stefanie Wilkinson – Corporate, Melbourne

Elaine Wong – Disputes, Tokyo

Jacqueline Wootton – Disputes, Melbourne